Kenyan Sponge Cake/Mkate wa Mayai

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Makes one 8" cake

The Kenyan Sponge Cake is more famously known as Mkate wa Mayai (literal translation means Bread of Eggs). It's a very light and fluffy cake, that takes absolutely no time to prepare using minimal ingredients, and is really refreshing to have with a cup of tea or coffee. There is no butter or milk in this cake, and for the most part, the fluffiness is from the whipping of the eggs...just like a regular sponge cake. Only difference is, this one is flavoured with cardamom powder, giving it a warm and soothing flavour and aroma. The cake is normally served as it is, but you can serve it with ice-cream or whipped cream if you like.

eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup
white fine sugar
5 1/2 tbsp.
1/2 tsp.
cardamom powder
1/2 tsp.
baking powder
1/4 cup

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.

Prepare an 8" baking pan by greasing and dusting it with flour or lining it with greaseproof paper.

Before you start, sift your flour with the baking powder 3-4 times. The more you sift the flour, the more air is incorporated and it will give you the most fantastic light and fluffy cake. So sift the flour several times then set it aside.

Beat the eggs and sugar plus cardamom powder in a bowl until fluffy (it will more than double in amount and thicken slightly, so make sure you beat it well) and all the sugar is dissolved, then gradually add the flour (you can even sift it into the bowl for added lightness) and mix using a wooden spoon or spatula until just incorporated. Do not over-mix the batter, and try FOLDING the flour into the egg mixture using light hands carefully so as not to deflate the eggs too much.

Pour the batter into your pan and sprinkle the raisins on top. I find that by lightly dusting the raisins in some flour prior to sprinkling them on the cake helps keep them from sinking into your cake.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake before turning it out.

Best eaten fresh, very light and enjoyable! If you need to store the leftovers (if there are any leftovers that is), wrap them up in cling film and refrigerate. :)


I have made this cake today so light and tasty! Very easy to make thank u!

Mine didn't rise :( Flat like a pancake :(

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Sounds like you over-mixed the batter, that would deflate the eggs so the cake ends up flattening. Try again but take care NOT to over-mix.

Thanks! I will give it a try and will keep you posted about the result!

salaam,made the cake yesterday..even mine dint rise..i dnw if its cz of the sequence i used,beat the eggs n sugar n elaichi(using the cake machine),then kept it aside,sifted the flour around 6times n then sifted it into the eggs finally and mixed with a wooden spoon,also i feel maybe because i dint beat the eggs again before i put in the flour maybe thats y it dint turn out :( :'(

also i put the oven on 180 but realised its nt rising,increased it after sumtym buh still..mum says maybe it depends on the oven,maybe for ours v needed it to be hotter..

can i replace the raisins with dried dates? I have dried dates i dont know how to use.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can.

How and when do we make the designs as shown in the picture Fauzia? It looks very nice & I would like to do the same too :)
Thank you..

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Before baking. :) Just stick the raisins on to the cake batter.

Salaam,also mine dine rise:-( i followed ol ua instructions bt end up flat i dnt knw wt went wrong,wl give anoda try inshlh nxt tym

Salaams fauzia, I made mkate mayai yesterday but it didn't rise and wasn't cooked through. Not sure what happened :(((((
Will have another go inshallah. Thanks for your
your great recipes xxxx

I think u guys did not mix the eggs till fluffy and thick.

a.a. fauzia. i really thank u very much coz am getting experience with yr recpees

a.a.can i add cocoa in sponge cake?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

I've actually never tried this recipe with cocoa, but you can try by replacing about 2 tbsp of flour with cocoa powder and see how you like the results.

thanx. al try n let u know

a.a.i tried to add cocoa in sponge cake. the results were good bt actually original taste is without cocoa

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture


Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. I decided to make this at the last minute today. Inspite of having to bring cold eggs to room temperature and my handheld mixer bursting into flames (I am not kidding) and having to dig out my old whisk from a very hard to reach shelf this mkate turned out fabulously mashaAllah.
As you pointed out- there were no leftovers:-) BarakaAllah fikum and jazakumullah khayr

Assalamualeikum. I have a recipe for this my mils. I was asking the recipe we used to bake it for 40mins after preheating in a jiko oven.(famous in msa). So if I want to use an electric one how long and at what temp m I supposed to m still getting used to the electric one. Please help.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, that depends on the size of the cake. With my size of cake it takes 20-25 minutes in a 180 C oven. A bigger cake will take longer.